The Union government is yet to respond to some of the issues such as setting up a Judicial Infrastructure Corporation and offering financial help to lawyers who lost their livelihood due to COVID-19, Chief Justice of India NV Ramana said on Sunday, December 19, in Telangana. Inaugurating a court complex in Warangal, Justice Ramana said though the proposals for setting up a Judicial Infrastructure Corporation and mobile internet facilities in rural areas were sent in July and June, the proposals have not been translated into action. He however, said he was hopeful that the Union government would bring in legislation in the ongoing Winter Session of Parliament for creating the Judicial Infrastructure Corporation.
"I asked the Union government to financially help families of lawyers who lost their livelihood due to COVID-19. There is no proper response from the government so far. With regards to creation of Infrastructure there is no response either. I raise these issues whenever I get a chance at various forums when the Prime Minister and President are present," Justice Ramana said.
In a written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha, Law Minister Kiren Rijiju recently said a proposal has been received from the Chief Justice of India (CJI) for setting up a National Judicial Infrastructure Authority of India for arrangement of adequate infrastructure for courts.
"The three main issues in the country are lack of basic infrastructure, to increase the number of judges and financial help to deserving lawyers. Only when we overcome these problems can we reach out to people. There would be a meaning to "access to justice," the CJI said. For piling pending cases, not only is the shortage of judges a reason, but also a lack of necessary infrastructure. Without providing necessary infrastructure expecting judges and lawyers sitting in dilapidated court buildings to deliver justice is not fair. Governments, especially the Union government should note this, Ramana further said.
Justice Ramana said he wrote a letter to the Union government and the Law Minister seeking setting up a mobile network on vans to facilitate lawyers in rural areas to attend court duties virtually. According to him, though lawyers who can afford it and are in cities and towns will be able to attend court through video conferencing, advocates in rural areas and who cannot afford the network would eventually lose their profession.
"If necessary, the government can rope in big corporations to set up network stations under corporate social responsibility (CSR) funds so that they can attend court duties virtually. The suggestion so far has not translated into action. I am waiting for the government to do something about it," the CJI said.
He said many states in the country are shying away from allocating funds to build court complexes. He however appreciated the Telangana government for sanctioning funds to build a complex in Warangal without waiting for the Union government funds to arrive.